May Funeral Home in Glenside celebrates 75th anniversary with a Family Celebration

William R. May Funeral Home in Glenside hosted a 75th anniversary Family Celebration on Saturday, April 27 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm.

Timothy P. McLoone and Laura May Haggerty took over the business in July 2022. Their predecessors, family and friends enjoyed an afternoon of food, drinks, and a guest list with “a mixture of current staff, people from the funeral home’s past, so to speak, and community partners who have been a part of our history,” McLoone, a Glenside native, said.

“We thought having a celebration would be a nice opportunity to reinforce the next generation of ownership,” McLoone said. “We’re still here, both families are working together.”

The May Funeral Home was founded in 1948 after Laura’s grandfather returned from WWII. As the story goes, Vince Pannepacker of Penny’s Flowers urged him to buy the 354 N. Easton Road property around 1949.

“After serving in the Navy in World War II he came back and wanted to start his own business. My parents married in 1946, and my mom convinced him to open in Glenside,” Harry May said.

According to Kathleen Seweryn, Mary and Bill May purchased the property and moved in with their two small daughters that August. After a relatively slow start, business nearly doubled after a major renovation to the building in the mid-1960s.

“My parents, my three sisters and I lived above the funeral home and got to know all the children of all the families that lived in the area. My sister and I purchased the former Longenecker Funeral Home in North Wales in 2005 as we saw the progression of people from the Glenside area moving up that way. When I sold the business in July of 2022 I wanted to keep it in the family,” Harry said.

Kathleen remembers the early days well. She was six months old when her parents purchased the Glenside property, retiring in 2013 after serving as a licensed funeral director for 42 years.

“When Mom and Dad started the business, they didn’t have much money. Dad was working mostly out at other funeral homes. Funeral directors helped each other out in those days, and he always had good relationships throughout Philadelphia,” Kathleen said.

“He always said the best advertisement was to have a good-looking building, so he put a lot of money into that. In the mid-1960s, the business almost doubled within a year or two. He became very busy, and that’s when he asked me if I’d like to help out. As it turned out, it was the best move. There weren’t very many female funeral directors in those days,” she said.

May and McLoone families and extended families

Harry, who became an owner in the mid-1970s, retired in 2022 and sold off his ownership to McLoone and May Haggerty. Harry has kept his licensure and assists the business from time to time. His daughter, Christine May Rafferty, is a licensed funeral director and works with families to pre-plan funerals on a part-time basis.

“In the transition I wanted to make sure that the families that we serve were going to receive the same care and support that we have provided for these past 75 years,” Harry said.

Laura May, Kathleen’s niece and goddaughter, joined the May Funeral Home in 2004 and became a licensed Funeral Director in 2006. She currently serves as Supervisor of the Glenside location.

“Her quiet, intuitive and no-nonsense approach to the tasks needed to be a Funeral Director has
been an asset to our business,” Kathleen said. “Her love and understanding of the families we serve has been a gift to the William R. May Funeral Home, and she continues the legacy established by previous
generations of May family members.”

“It was fantastic to hand things over to them. I’ve known Tim for most of his life, Laura was always in Glenside visiting, and they’re both doing it for the right reasons,” Kathleen said. “It’s nice to know that all my parents’ hard work is going to dedicated, strong workers. I’m very proud and excited for them.”

“We want people to know that families will get the same personal attention that the home has always given. Nothing has changed in that way,” McLoone said.

“I am really proud of carrying on my family’s tradition with a business partner who also values keeping the funeral home family owned and operated as much as myself and my family do,” Laura said.

For more on the William R. May Funeral Home, you can visit their Facebook page and website.

Feature photo (from left to right): Harry May, Kathleen May Seweryn, Portrait of William R. May, Laura May Haggerty and Tim McLoone.  

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Photos: May Funeral Home